From Puhoi and the Sunday Farmers Market we continued north a few more kilometers on SH1 before turning off to the east to Mahurangi Regional Park. This is beside the sea, I guess the Hauraki Gulf although by that stage it is more the Mahirangi Harbour. This is a very historic harbour, with access via the tidal Mahurangi River at the head to Warkworth. The harbour entrance is only two headlands north of Wenderholm so it’s not far north of urban Auckland. We were definitely making slow progress.
For some reason the camping area at Mahurangi is closed for several months during winter – even though this will have been the driest winter in a while. So we were only allowed to stay a couple of nights in the car park. Which was probably good as otherwise we wouldn’t have wanted to leave ever. The car park is only a few meters from the beach which is nice. It’s just far enough away for the waves to not make too much noise at night.
There are several 1-3 hour walks, and the first evening we set off on one the overlooks the car park and the main beach Sullivans Beach.
Next morning I was up early enough to catch the sun rise. Finally I got to see it rise out of the sea. Before breakfast we walked the loop around the top of the bay, being sure to not unsettle the many lambs playing in the sun.
It is refreshing to be in the farm parks where some informative sign information about not interfering with the lambs is probably sufficient to avoid the usual closure of tracks in so many rural areas for months during lambing.
Later in the day when the tide had retreated we made the walk over to Te Muri Bay to the south – over one headland. Getting to the beach requires crossing the estuary outlet at low tide. There is a wonderful old cemetery at Te Muri Bay, in under some old Pohutukawa trees. The headstones bear witness to some of the hardships of earlier times. Somehow it is one of the most peaceful and appropriate cemeteries I’ve ever seen.
On the second morning there was time for one more walk before breakfast and packing up. It was one of those gorgeous mornings when it was too good to leave – except we had to.
Gallery of photos – Mahurangi Regional Park – Auckland July 2013
Click on thumbnails to see full size. (And then you can click through them)